Our Team

Interim Principal Investigator – Michelle Noble, MA, RPA


Ms. Noble is interim Principal Investigator with 16 years of experience working with prehistoric and historic cultural resources in California and Nevada. She has directed archaeological and historical research projects, field surveys and inventories, test programs, and data recovery projects throughout California and Nevada. Locations of work include, the Central Coast, northern redwood country, along the Trinity River, Sacramento and the Delta, the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains, the Central Valley, the Owens Valley and the whole of the Inyo/Mono region, Napa Valley, and Lahontan Basin.


Ms. Noble has directed graduate students and run laboratory and field work. She has worked extensively with a wide range of prehistoric and historic artifacts, with special expertise in paleobotanical analysis, ground and battered stone analysis, artifact photography, database creation and maintenance, and accessioning and cataloging of archaeological collections. Additionally, she has been trained and is experienced in museum property management as well as NAGPRA compliance and consultations. She has worked extensively with tribes throughout California and Nevada and has directed, conducted, and participated in a number of NAGPRA repatriations.


Ms. Noble received her BAs in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) and English Literature from California State University, Fresno in 2003, and her MA in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) from California State University, Sacramento in 2011. She has written numerous academic and compliance reports. She has written articles and presented at conferences and for the public. She has led field schools and taught classes to both fellow archaeologists at all levels, and members of the public.



Advisory Principal Investigator – Dr. Susan Hector, RPA


Dr. Susan Hector has over 40 years of experience with prehistoric, historic, and ethnographic cultural resources in southern California. In addition, she has substantial management experience beyond the cultural resources subject area. She served as the Director for San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Environmental Programs Manager for San Diego Gas & Electric Company and has taught anthropology and archaeology at San Diego City College. She is currently an advisory Principal Investigator at NWB Environmental Services.

Senior Archaeologist Erin M. Smith, Doctoral Candidate, MA, RPA


Ms. Smith has over fifteen years of archaeological experience in cultural resource management and academic research.  She has been involved in cultural and historical projects in California, Idaho, Washington, the American Southwest, Baja California, Mexico, and British Columbia, Canada.  In Canada, she has supported an Indigenous Archaeology through a collaborative participation and knowledge-based exchange between anthropologists and First Nations peoples.  This collaboration has worked to develop a better understanding of history (prehistory as an on-going history, including now) and to actively cultivate knowledge for the lives, cultures, and identities of peoples today.


Over the years, Ms. Smith has been involved in southern California projects and research, covering landscapes from the coasts to the deserts.  Notable work includes La Casa de Estudillo at Old Town State Historic Park, Stonewall Mine at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and the Southern Pacific Railroad River Station at Los Angeles State Historic Park. However, her experience also includes multi-phase projects throughout the continental west.


In addition, Ms. Smith has been involved in multiple community-building projects, has served on the board of the San Diego County Archaeological Society, and is involved in historical preservation through the Daughters of the American Revolution society.  Ms. Smith has hosted and organized symposia for state, national, and international archaeological organizations, including the Society for California Archaeology, the Society for American Archaeologists, and the Society for Historical Archaeology.  Her recent publications are found in flagship journals, such as American Anthropologist and the Journal of Archaeological Science. Ms. Smith received her BA in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) from the University of California at San Diego in 2003, her MA in Anthropology (concentration in Public Archaeology) from California State University at Northridge in 2011, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) at Washington State University with an anticipated degree in 2017.  She has been trained by leading professional and academic specialists in areas such as cultural resource management, lithic artifact analysis, shellfish analysis, palynology, and global information systems (GIS).  In addition to working in both public and private sector cultural resource management, she has taught anthropology courses at Washington State University and San Diego City College.


Archaeologist – Michael Taylor


Mr. Taylor is an archaeologist and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. As a field archaeologist, Mr. Taylor has extensive experience in desert surface surveying, prehistoric and historic site excavation, archaeological testing, data recovery, artifact identification, archaeological monitoring, laboratory analysis, marine shell speciation, cultural resource management, and collaboration with Native American tribal members. As a member of an archaeology team, Mr. Taylor conducted field and lab work for the multiple award-winning restoration of California State Park's historic Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego. Mr. Taylor received his BA in Archaeological Anthropology from Columbia University in the City of New York.


Senior Project Manager – Josh Tansey, M.A. In Progress


Mr. Tansey is an archaeologist and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Tansey has ten years of archaeological field and laboratory experience as a project manager, field director, crew chief and crew member. His archaeological experience includes survey, excavation, and lab work involving all archaeological site types located in Southern California. In addition, he has chemical laboratory experience pertaining to strong acid digestion of soil and water samples for ethnobotanical and mass spectrometry analysis. He is certified as a City of San Diego archaeological technician and has completed the 40-hour HAZWOPER training; certificate #754912057. Mr. Tansey earned an Environmental Studies certificate and BA in Anthropology at San Diego State University. He is currently pursuing his MA in Cultural Resource Management at Adams State University.


Senior Archaeologist - Paige Kohler, M.A.


Ms. Kohler is an archaeologist with experience in laboratory work, anthropological research, and historical research. Ms. Kohler manages NWB Environmental's  Section 106 Review assignments for telecommunications projects. Ms. Kohler has contributed to multiple seasons at the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project in Jordan, as well as the Jezreel Valley Regional Project at Legio in Israel. She was a paid intern for the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Israel, where she performed archaeological research, artifact cleaning, and sorting and cataloging of artifacts from local excavations. Ms. Kohler has worked on both solar and electrical projects as a cultural monitor. She received a BA in Anthropology (focus in Archaeology) and a BA in Religion from the University of California, San Diego, an MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently working on an MA in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. Ms. Kohler has traveled to eleven countries and visited their respective archaeological sites, in order to learn and broaden her perspective as a field archaeologist.

Associate Archaeologist - Michael "Bucky" Buxton


Mr. Buxton is a veteran of the US Navy who became interested in archaeology while working as a commercial sea urchin diver. He now has over 25 years of experience as a professional archaeologist and has worked in a variety of settings for California State Parks and several private sector resource management firms. He has participated in archaeological survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, and report preparation for numerous prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in California. He has also completed research and fieldwork at many Spanish, Mexican, and American archaeological sites throughout Southern California. Mr. Buxton was awarded the 2013 Golden Shovel Award from the Society of California Archaeology for his outstanding field work, and has twice won the San Diego Institute of History Copley Award (1991 and 2004) for his papers relating to the American period of San Diego history. His publications include several articles on the maritime history of San Diego and numerous archaeological reports.

Lead Archaeologist / SDG&E In-House Consultant - Phill Bosque


Mr. Bosque is an archaeologist and US Army veteran. At NWB Environmental, Mr. Bosque works at SDG&E's Environmental Programs, reviewing construction project for cultural resources. His primary responsibility is ensuring environmental compliance for operations & maintenance, as well as some larger capital projects. Mr. Bosque engages construction engineers and representatives from multiple disciplines to help ensure the protection of San Diego's cultural resources.  He has extensive experience working at California State Parks as an archaeological field technician. His recent projects include Field Director during the construction of the new Los Angeles State Historic Park, which included monitoring construction, excavating historical architecture, collecting artifacts, and data recovery of a 19th century railroad depot. Mr. Bosque has worked with the Maya Research Program in Belize where he excavated a Mayan village site at Xnoha with the University of Texas at Tyler under Dr. Guderjan. At San Diego State University he worked under an honorarium from the Smithsonian Institute analyzing zooarchaeological remains found at prehistoric sites from Santa Cruz Island under Dr. Braje. Mr. Bosque is a graduate of San Diego State University where he obtained his BA in Anthropology.

Field Archaeologist -  Mark Abelon


Mr. Abelon is a field archaeologist with experience conducting survey, excavation, and monitoring throughout California. He has worked on many projects in cultural resource management, including solar projects in Riverside County and Monterey County, the California High-Speed Rail project in Tulare County, the Fire Management Program (FiRM) by SDG&E, gas line work for SoCal Gas, and telecommunications work for Verizon. Mr. Abelon has contributed to historical and prehistorical archaeology for Los Peñasquitos Ranch House as an instructional assistant for the Introduction to Archaeological Field Work class and Archaeological Artifact Analysis class at San Diego City College. Mr. Abelon was a history intern for the San Diego County Parks & Recreation at the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, where he performed historic research, sorting, and cataloging of historic artifacts from the Ranch House's collection.

Remote Pilot in Command/Digital Content Producer - Trevor Neuenswander


Trevor Neuenswander is the head of the UAS division at NWB Environmental. Trevor holds a Private Pilot license and a Remote Pilot rating. He has a keen eye for detail and a steady hand on the controls. He is currently studying film at San Diego State University and is pursuing his interest in aerial cinematography. Trevor has extensive professional experience as Pilot in Command (PIC) for small UAVs for commercial operations under the FAA Section 333 Exemption and FAA Part 107. He has successfully completed projects such as aerial videography, photography, survey, and in video editing.


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